Key Quotes

When Mickey asks his mum why Sammy always ‘robs’ his toys, she replies:

‘Cos your the youngest, Mickey. It used to happen to our Sammy when he was the youngest.’

‘It’s last, anyway. It only fires caps. I’m gonna get a real gun soon.’

‘I know our Sammy burnt the school down.’

How old is Sammy when we first meet him?
Your answer should include: 10 / ten
During the whole play, what criminal behaviour do we hear about Sammy being involved in?
Your answer should include: Robbery / Knifepoint / Burning / School / Armed robbery


  1. Although we know that Mrs Johnstone has eight children, we only find out about them in detail when they are important to tell the story.
  2. Sammy is important because of his influence on Mickey. Although he is only about two years older than Mickey, Sammy is the most important male role model that his younger brother has.
  3. Sammy is Mickey’s older brother, but he has older siblings of his own, who bullied him, so he thinks it is Mickey’s “turn”.

Influence Over Mickey

  1. Throughout their lives, we see that Sammy continues to have a strong influence over Mickey, who seems to both hate and admire the older boy.
  2. Mickey finds it hard to say no to Sammy both when they are younger and when they are older.
  3. Mickey is not as streetwise as his brother and is unable to escape from the trouble that Sammy gets him in to.


  1. As a teenager, Sammy’s behaviour is more serious.
  2. He robs the conductor (played by the same actor as the Narrator) at knifepoint and is given probation.
  3. This escalates even further when he reaches adulthood, when he draws his little brother in, too.
  4. Mickey ends up going to jail when Sammy persuades him to take part in a robbery. We don’t find out what happens to Sammy.